Somatic Therapy Exercises
Somatic therapy exercises are a type of mental wellness therapy that uses physical sensations and body experience to treat trauma, anxiety, depression, and addiction. These techniques may be employed alone or combined with other therapy modalities in order to heal both body and mind.
The initial goal of somatic therapy is to become more aware of your sensations and emotions. For those who have never experienced trauma before, this can be challenging; however, with the guidance of a professional who understands how to listen to your body and help process any traumas causing discomfort, this can become easier.
Next, your therapist will guide you through some exercises designed to increase awareness of physical experiences of trauma and emotional pain. These can include breathwork, meditation, visualization, massage therapy, grounding exercises and dance.
One of the primary goals of somatic therapy, according to psychologist Laura Rea, LCSW, is for patients to become more mindful of their bodies and what they are feeling in that moment. This involves being present for your sensations in both happy or sad moments.
Another popular technique in somatic therapy is called titration, which involves revisiting past trauma slowly. This allows you to integrate each part and the sensations it causes more fully. Your therapist will check in with you about how you are responding, such as crying, shaking or shivering.
Some somatic therapists also employ the Hakomi Method, a form of body-centered therapy that instructs patients to pay attention to their bodies in order to uncover core material – unconscious emotions that could be causing their pain. This approach can be especially helpful for individuals suffering from trauma as it helps them find ways to release energy that causes dysregulation or dissociation.
This somatic therapy technique is one of the most crucial elements in a session and can offer relief to those suffering from chronic stress or trauma. Your therapist will likely ask you to sit in a chair and focus on tuning into your environment while paying attention to how it feels.
Once you are fully present, your therapist will invite you to recall an event that closely mirrors what you are currently going through. Pay special attention to your feelings, five senses, and overall experience as you recall this memory.
The therapist will then ask you to relax in that moment, as if someone has touched you. This could be done with a variety of touch, such as a gentle rub on the back of your neck or even just a flinch or sigh of relief.
Finally, the therapist will ask you to take a deep breath and pay attention to how your body feels as you inhale and exhale. This exercise helps restore containment within yourself and keeps you grounded throughout the remainder of the session.